English Ivy Care: 9 Quick Tips and Tricks

English ivy is a fast-growing, evergreen climber that grows indoors and outdoors. As a shade-lover, English ivy is the perfect hanging plant for dull spaces in your home!

Despite its tough and invasive reputation, indoor English ivy care requirements are specific. Providing the right amount of watering, good drainage and adequate humidity levels are key for a happy indoor English ivy.

english ivy care

Table of Contents

Does English Ivy Need Lots of Sunlight?

English ivy is a shade-loving plant. As a climber, it’s used to a dense habitat with minimal sunlight. A shady room with a north or east-facing window is ideal for an English ivy.

Choose a spot that gets some indirect sunlight in the summer to promote healthy growth. But your English ivy can cope with some direct sunlight in winter.

Unlike many other houseplants, your English ivy’s need for some light can be satisfied by a nearby fluorescent bulb.

hanging ivy on white background

When Should I Water?

English ivy likes to be kept on the dry side. Check that the soil is dry before watering your plant. The soil should be kept slightly moist, but not soggy or waterlogged. The slight dampness of a wrung-out sponge is the moisture level you’re aiming for in an English ivy’s soil.

As with many houseplants, the key to correct moisture levels for English ivy is good drainage. A pot with drainage holes prevents standing water from building up, helping your plant to avoid fatal root rot even if you accidentally over-water it.

When your English ivy is ready for another water, it’s a good idea to water it deeply. You should see water coming out of the drainage hole in the pot.

What Temperature Is Preferred?

English ivy likes cooler temperatures almost as much as it likes the shade. Daytime room temperatures of around 70°f – 90°f will help your plant thrive. Ideally, the temperature should drop to around 50°f – 65°f overnight.

English ivy can be temperamental when it comes to extreme temperatures. Avoid scorching summer sun and cold winter wind (or other indoor drafts and heaters) to keep your plant happy. 

You will know that the temperature is just right if the leaves on your English ivy stay their lovely dark green – this is an indication that the temperature is good and steady.

english ivy growing on white furniture

How High Does the Humidity Have To Be?

English ivy doesn’t like dry indoor air. It requires a medium to high humidity level of around 40%. Maintain a better humidity level for your plant by regularly misting it or keeping a humidifier nearby.

Ivy is a great plant choice for your humidity-high bathroom or other rooms with open taps.

What Soil Is Required?

A moist and well-draining loose soil mix is ideal for English ivy. As a relatively hardy plant, they don’t require a specialist soil. 

They are also not fussy about pH levels, but a neutral to slightly alkaline pH level will work well for your plant’s growth and health.

When Should I Fertilize?

To help your English ivy grow big and strong, fertilize it once every two to three weeks in the spring and summer growing season. An all-purpose fertilizer with a 20-20-20 NPK ratio (20% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus and 20% potassium) is good for English ivy.

The crucial factor when choosing an ivy fertilizer is that it offers the slow release of nutrients to keep your plant healthy and strong over the long term.

Avoid fertilizing your English ivy if the plant is under stress, such as from extreme temperatures, very dry soil or if leaf production has stopped. Focus on reviving your plant first by getting the watering, temperature and humidity levels right and by tackling any pests and diseases, before using fertilizer.

How Often Does It Need Repotting?

young english ivy growing in brown pot

English ivy is rather low maintenance when it comes to repotting. Most ivies, depending on their growth stage, will only need repotting every two years.

Smaller English ivy plants may need repotting once per year. Larger well-established plants will only need a soil refresh every two years and are usually fine being replanted in the same pot. 

Indoor English ivy usually takes a year to fully establish itself, with faster growth occurring after this period of time.

Watch for roots growing out of the drainage hole or tightly circling around the perimeter of the pot to know when repotting is needed.

When repotting your ivy, always use fresh potting soil to ensure your plant has access to the nutrients it needs for healthy growth.

When selecting a new pot for your English ivy, drainage holes are a key feature to look out for. Hanging pots are best for reducing an English ivy’s tendency to take over and for showing off their gorgeous greenery.

Is It Necessary to Prune?

english ivy covering a wall

Every few years it is helpful to prune your English ivy. This will help to revitalize the plant, prevent it from taking over and keep it looking nice in your space.

Use sharp, clean shears to trim your English ivy’s vines to stop it taking over. Trim your plant into a bushy shape and remove any leggy growth.

Keeping your English ivy vine in a hanging pot can also help prevent excessive growth and room takeover.

Also trim any leaves that show signs of bacterial leaf spot to help maintain your plant’s health.

How Can I Propagate My English Ivy?

Put your pruning leftovers to good use by using these stem cuttings to propagate new plants.

(It is also possible to grow indoor English ivy from seeds, but this method will take several months.)

growing baby ivy in glass vase

English Ivy From Stem Cuttings

  1. Use clean shears to trim off a 4 – 5 inch stem that has at least four leaves. Make your cut just above another leaf.
  2. Snip the end of your cutting at a 45° angle. Remove any extra leaves at the bottom of the stem.
  3. Either dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder to increase the chances of propagation success (then proceed to step 5). 
  4. Or submerge the cut end in a jar of water and wait for roots to develop. Once roots have started to develop, transfer the stem to a pot with potting soil.
  5. Keep the cutting in bright but indirect light.
  6. Water well so that the soil is kept moist (but not waterlogged).
  7. English ivy is slow growing at first. Leaves may take up to a month or two to start developing. After a month, the plant is usually ready for transplanting (test it by giving it a gentle tug – if it resists, it’s ready!).

English Ivy From Seeds

  1. Use store-bought seeds to ensure success as seeds from a hybrid plant won’t work.
  2. Put the seeds in moist sand in a resealable container. Keep them in the fridge for two months, while checking the moisture levels of the sand regularly.
  3. After two months remove the seeds and soak them in water overnight.
  4. Place each seed into a soilless seed starting mix in a seed tray. Keep the seeds around 6 inches apart and don’t cover them with the medium.  
  5. Keep the tray in bright but indirect light.
  6. Keep the medium moist by misting it regularly.
  7. After eight weeks you should see little sprouts emerging.
  8. When the seedlings have two or three leaves each, you can transplant them.

english ivy growing on painted white wood

What Are Some Harmful Pests and Diseases?

Although English ivy is quite hardy and will grow well outdoors with no human interference, indoor ivy can suffer from several different pest infestations and diseases.


Aphids, spider mites and mealybugs can affect English ivy.

Try spraying them with water. If there is no improvement, use neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Leaf Spot

english ivy growing on a tree

Black or dark brown spots may start to appear on your English ivy’s foliage.

Removing the affected area (or the affected plants) is the only way to deal with this effectively. Then spray what remains of your plants with a 10:1 mixture of water and vinegar.

Root Rot

Over-watering and high humidity can cause root rot to develop. Once it takes hold, the plant will die.

Prevention is key. Only water your English ivy when the soil is dry. If a plant does develop root rot, treat other nearby plants with a fungicide for protection.

Are There Any Common Problems?

english ivy leaf with white edges

Leaf Spots

English ivy can be susceptible to bacterial leaf infections which often leave brown spots on the leaves. Check first for a bug infection. If no bugs can be found, try a copper fungicide to elimite a possible bacterial infection.

Browning Leaves

Leaf scorch, or the browning of your English ivy’s leaves, can be caused by drought-like conditions. It could be caused by excessive direct sunlight, by icy winter blasts or by issues with your watering. Protect your plant from extreme temperature shocks and ensure that you are watering your plant regularly (when the soil has dried out).

Leaves Losing Their Variegation

Leaf variegation may start to disappear if your plant is not getting enough indirect light. Simply move your plant to a slightly sunnier spot to encourage the variegation.

english ivy leaves close up

How Many Ivy Varieties Are There?

  • Hedera helix “English ivy”: this variety is the most popular type of indoor and outdoor ivy. It’s very versatile in its needs – it can handle lots of sun or lots of shade.
  • Hedera helix “Buttercup”: the smaller leaves of this variety change color according to light exposure. With lots of shade, the leaves turn a pale green, but with a little sunlight exposure they go a lovely bright yellow.
  • Hedera helix “Adam”: the foliage on this ivy is arrow shaped and the leaves have attractive variegation, with medium green centers and light green edges.
  • Hedera helix “Goldchild”: the goldchild ivy is a great choice for small interior spaces as it is one of the more compact ivies. It has variegated green-gray foliage with eye-catching yellow edges.

FAQs About English Ivy Care

Where should I put my English ivy?

English ivy prefers shade over sun. A room with a north or east-facing window is ideal as it will provide enough indirect light to encourage healthy growth but will remain shady for most of the day.

How much sunlight does English ivy need?

English ivies are happy in shady rooms and only need a little indirect light to survive. If your English ivy’s leaves have remained their lovely dark green (rather than fading, turning brown or becoming lighter green), it means your plant is happy with the amount of light it is receiving.

How often should I water my English ivy?

Only water your English ivy when the top few inches of the soil have dried out. The soil should be kept relatively moist, but not water-logged.

Is English ivy toxic?

English ivy can be toxic to both pets and humans.

How to Give Your English Ivy the Best Care

Despite its fearsome reputation, English ivy that is kept indoors does need particular care. Keep your plant happy by watering it when the soil is dry. Aim to fertilize it every two weeks in the growing period. And remember to mist it regularly to keep up the humidity levels.

English ivy is a great plant for darker spots in rooms with north or east facing windows. It can quickly grow to brighten up a dull corner. Keeping your ivy in a hanging pot will not only prevent it taking over, but it will improve the aesthetic of any room!

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Catherine Allsop
Catherine inherited a love of things that bloom from her mother and grandmother. Her journey began with lavender picking in her mother’s garden and using rhubarb leaves as an umbrella in her grandmother’s garden. An interest in beautiful gardens soon transferred into the home too. Catherine’s current collection of leafy greens includes a gloriously large monstera (cheese plant), a low maintenance snake plant and an over-temperamental peace lily. Catherine also loves the interesting shapes of succulents and the structural beauty of her ZZ plant. When Catherine is not reviving peace lilies and dusting monstera leaves, she loves doing yoga, writing and visiting historical sites.

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